Lawyers Appeal to Attorney General Holder on Boston College subpoena case

March 18th
NYC, Wash, D. C., Denver & Boston

Lawyers long experienced with the Irish conflict made a dramatic St Patrick’s Day appeal to U. S. Attorney General Holder to re-examine Britain’s use of a U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in light of the its failure to conduct a public inquiry into the murder of civil and human rights attorney Patrick Finucane. The public hearing was a legal obligation stipulated in the 1998 Irish peace pact (the Good Friday Agreement), a Treaty registered with the United Nations.

Mr. Brendan Moore, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians explained: “The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of a nation founded on the principle of the rule of law. It cannot be business as usual with the United Kingdom whose public record of lying and lawlessness has left generations of Catholics living in N.I. without truth or justice.”

“American support for the Irish peace process,” stated Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq., National President of the Irish American Unity Conference, “has been mocked by Britain’s ignoring the justice provisions of the pact which also included obligations on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings by members of the British Army and a re-examination of the murders of 800 Catholics for police and security forces collusion. What kind of message do we send to other nations when we give a pass to England on its Treaty obligations?

Stated Sean Downes, President of the Brehon Law Society: “Attorney General Holder must act as the conscience of the country and weigh the failures of Britain in the Finucane inquiry with their demands in other areas e.g. processing their subpoenas to conduct a political fishing expedition into the Irish archives of Boston College.”


March 17, 2013

Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.
Attorney General
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Rm. 5115
Washington, D. C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is to call your attention to a matter of deep concern to us as lawyers, which we believe should be considered as the Justice Department processes subpoenas issued to Boston College for records contained in its Irish archives. The subpoenas have been requested by Britain under the terms of the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (“MLAT”). The issue of the validity of the subpoenas is currently in litigation and the subject of a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Sup. Ct. No. No. 12-627.

In particular, in considering its position with respect to the subpoenas, we believe that the Justice Department must take into account that the requesting nation has steadfastly refused to conduct a public inquiry into the murder of civil rights lawyer Patrick Finucane, contrary to the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement between Ireland and the U.K. As you are undoubtedly aware, Mr. Finucane was assassinated in 1989, in front of his family during Sunday dinner, in an attempt to intimidate those who may seek justice from the government of the U.K. Many of us worked with Patrick, and many others were familiar with his exemplary work defending clients in his position as an officer of Her Majesty’s court in Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted that the police, military and intelligence services all conspired to murder Mr. Finucane. Yet, in October 2011, Mr. Cameron inexplicably informed Mr. Finucane’s widow and family that the U.K. government would not conduct a public inquiry into his murder. We believe this refusal was and remains in violation of the Good Friday Agreement and the terms of the Weston Park Agreement.

As you perform your statutory duties and fulfill your obligations under the MLAT, we urge that you weigh carefully the questionable conduct of Great Britain unilaterally deciding to not meet its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement. This raises a serious concern as to whether this was done to insure that those responsible would not be held accountable for Mr. Finucane’s murder.

We appeal to you not only as our country’s chief law enforcement officer but also as a lawyer who shares with us a deep commitment to civil rights, justice, and due process of law. We ask that you ensure that the U.S. judicial process not be used to actively aid a nation which will not hold accountable the murderers of an officer of the court . We hope that you will follow the views of Secretary of State John Kerry on the importance of avoiding the U.K.’s abuse of the MLAT in the Boston College subpoena case.

Respectfully yours,

Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq. CO
National President

Francis Boyle Esq., Professor ILL
School of Law
University of Illinois

James J. Cotter III Esq. MA

James P. Cullen Esq. NY
Brigadier General JAG (Retired)

John Dearie Esq. NY
Former Member
NYS Assembly

Sean J. Downes Esq. President
Brehon Law Society

Albert Doyle Esq. FL
Former Counsel

Robert Dunne Esq. NY
Past President
Brehon Law Society

John Philip Foley Esq. MA

Thomas Fox Esq. NY

Martin Galvin Esq. NY
AOH Div. #5 President Bx

Martin Glennon Esq. NY

Peter Kissel Esq. MD
Chair, Human Rights, IAUC

Thomas A. Lambert Esq. NY
President, AOH Div. #1, Erie CO

Richard Lawler Esq. CT
Irish Northern Aid Committee

Edmund E. Lynch Esq. MD
Lawyers Alliance for Justice

Stephen McCabe NY
Member, Brehon Law Society

Edward G. McCormick Esq. MA

William McNally Esq. MA

L. James Miller Esq. MA

Sean P. Moynihan Esq. MA

Jessica O’Kane Esq., MD
Member, Brehon Law Society

Judge Andrew L. Somers Esq. Retired WI
Past National President, IAUC

Patrick Sturdy Esq. MI
National Counsel, AOH